Priam

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"Priamus" redirects here. For the journal, see Priamus (journal).
For the manufacturing company, see Priam Corporation. For the Thoroughbred racehorse, see Priam (horse).
Priam killed by Neoptolemus, detail of an Attic black-figure amphora, ca. 520–510 BC

Priam (/ˈpr.əm/; Greek: Πρίαμος Príamos, pronounced [prí.amos]) was the king of Troy during the Trojan War and youngest son of Laomedon.

Etymology[edit]

Modern scholars derive his name from the Luwian compound Priya-muwa-, which means "exceptionally courageous".[1][2]

Life[edit]

Priam was originally called Podarces and he kept himself from being killed by Heracles by giving him a golden veil embroidered by his sister, Hesione. After this, Podarces changed his name to Priam. This is a folk etymology based on πριατός priatos, "ransomed" from πρίασθαι priasthai, "to buy."

In Iliad Book 3, Priam tells Helen of Troy that he once helped King Mygdon of Phrygia defend against the Amazons.

When Hector is killed by Achilles, the Greek warrior treats the body with disrespect and refuses to give it back. Zeus sends the god Hermes to escort King Priam, Hector’s father and the ruler of Troy, into the Greek camp. Priam tearfully pleads with Achilles to take pity on a father bereft of his son and return Hector’s body. He invokes the memory of Achilles’ own father, Peleus. Priam begs Achilles to pity him, saying "I have endured what no one on earth has ever done before — I put my lips to the hands of the man who killed my son."[3] Deeply moved, Achilles relents and returns Hector’s corpse to the Trojans. Both sides agree to a temporary truce, and Achilles gives Priam leave to hold a proper funeral for Hector, complete with funeral games. He promises that no Greek will engage in combat for 11 days, but on the 12th day of peace, the mighty war between the Greeks and the Trojans would resume.

Priam is killed during the Sack of Troy by Achilles' son Neoptolemus (also known as Pyrrhus). His death is graphically related in Book II of Virgil's Aeneid. In Virgil's description, Neoptolemus first kills Priam's son Polites in front of his father as he seeks sanctuary on the altar of Zeus. Priam rebukes Neoptolemus, throwing a spear at him, harmlessly hitting his shield. Neoptolemus then drags Priam to the altar and there kills him too.

It has been suggested by Hittite sources, specifically the Manapa-Tarhunta letter, that there is historical basis for the archetype of King Priam. The letter describes one Piyama-Radu as a troublesome rebel who overthrew a Hittite client king and thereafter established his own rule over the city of Troy (mentioned as Wilusa in Hittite). There is also mention of an Alaksandu, suggested to be Paris Alexander (King Priam's son from the Iliad), a later ruler of the city of Wilusa who established peace between Wilusa and Hatti (see the Alaksandu treaty).


Marriage and issue[edit]

See List of children of Priam

Priam had many wives; his first was Arisbe, who had given birth to his son Aesacus, who met his death before the Trojan War. Priam later divorced her in favor of Hecuba (or Hecebe), daughter of the Phrygian king Dymas. By his various wives and concubines Priam was the father of fifty sons and many daughters. Hector was Priam's eldest son by Hecuba, and heir to the Trojan throne. Paris (also known as Alexander), another son, was the cause of the Trojan War. Other children of Priam and Hecuba include the prophetic Helenus and Cassandra; eldest daughter Ilione; Deiphobus; Troilus; Polites; Creusa, wife of Aeneas; Laodice, wife of Helicaon; Polyxena, who was slaughtered on the grave of Achilles; and Polydorus, his youngest son.

Family tree[edit]

 
 
 
Zeus/Jupiter
 
Electra
 
Teucer
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dardanus
 
 
 
Batea
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Erichthonius
 
 
Ilus
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tros
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ilus
 
 
 
Assaracus
 
 
 
Ganymede
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Laomedon
 
Themiste
 
Capys
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Priam
 
 
 
Anchises
 
Aphrodite/Venus
 
Latinus
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Creusa
 
 
 
 
 
Aeneas
 
 
 
Lavinia
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ascanius
 
 
 
 
 
Silvius
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Silvius
 
 
 
Aeneas Silvius
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Brutus of Britain
 
 
Latinus Silvius
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alba
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Atys
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Capys
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Capetus
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tiberinus Silvius
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Agrippa
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Romulus Silvius
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Aventinus
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Procas
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Numitor
 
Amulius
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rhea Silvia
 
Ares/Mars
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hersilia
 
Romulus
 
Remus
 

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Starke, Frank. "Troia im Kontext des historisch-politischen und sprachlichen Umfeldes Kleinasiens im 2. Jahrtausend". Studia Troica 7, 1997, 458 with fn. 114, referring to F. Starke, Untersuchungen zur Stammbildung des keilschrift-luwischen Nomens, 1990, 455, fn. 1645 (PN Priya-muwa- "der hervorragenden/vortrefflichen Mut hat".
  2. ^ Haas, Die hethitische Literatur: Texte, Stilistik, Motive, 2006. p. 5.
  3. ^ "The Iliad", Fagles translation. Penguin Books, 1991, p. 605.

References[edit]